When Lenovo Group Ltd’s country head in India, Neeraj Sharma, quit the company on 31 August, he became the latest in a long list of senior executives who have left the company in the past few months.

The company did not issue a statement to announce Sharma’s departure, and it did not respond to an email questionnaire sent to it. Sharma’s departure comes in the wake of exits by Manish Gupta, general manager, products and enterprise; Ajay Mittal, vice-president, brand & marketing; Princey Bhatnagar, general manager, desktop business; S. Thirumurugan, CFO; and Vivek Malhotra, director, sales and channels.

According to people close to the development who do not wish to be identified, Gupta and Mittal have already signed up with the local arm of International Business Machines Corp., and Sharma is in the process of doing so. IBM declined to comment on the subject.

A file picture of Neeraj Sharma. He was Lenovo Group Ltd’s country head in India till 31 August, but there was no formal announcement from the company when he left.

According to Delhi-based research firm IDC India Ltd, the installed base of PCs in India has more than doubled to 22 million in three years.

The exodus of executives may have something to do with the pressure to grow, said one of the executives.

“There was a lot of pressure to increase the market share, and it was becoming very challenging for us," said the executive who did not wish to be identified.

Lenovo’s local arm has been growing at around 31% a year, faster than the Indian PC market which is growing at 22.4% a year.

Lenovo’s market share in India reached 10% in the second quarter of 2006-07; since then, the company’s share has fallen below 10%. In the first quarter of 2007-08 (ending June), Lenovo’s market share was 9.5%. Market leader HP had a 21.2% share, according to IDC.

Lenovo acquired the desktop and laptop unit of IBM in May 2005 for $1.25 billion (Rs5,088 crore). Since February 2006, Lenovo has used its own brand name on these products. According to IBM, the two companies do not have any agreement preventing one from hiring the employees of another.

“While Lenovo has been doing fairly well in India, the exit of key executives might affect their corporate sales, wherein relationship sales is involved," said Piyush Pushkal, manager, computing products research at IDC India.

According to people close to the development at Lenovo, Anil Philip, director, transaction business at Lenovo India, has been appointed the interim country head even as the company looks for a full-time country head. The people did not wish to be identified.

Lenovo’s position as the world’s third largest PC maker is under threat from Acer Inc. that acquired the third largest American PC maker Gateway Inc on 27 August for $710 million.